Seaton regeneration: Infill material to be brought in by sea

TESCO representatives were welcomed to Seaton s Regeneration Programme Board on Wednesday – the first meeting to be held following the recent approval of the company s development plans for the town.

TESCO representatives were welcomed to Seaton's Regeneration Programme Board on Wednesday - the first meeting to be held following the recent approval of the company's development plans for the town.

Councillor Ray Franklin, chairman, told the company's delegate: "As a land-owner in the regeneration area, you have had a seat on this board for some time. You are now a partner with the other stakeholders, who are keen to see Seaton prosper, so I welcome you to this meeting on that basis.

"I know there is continuing opposition from some quarters in the town, following the decision by EDDC's Development Management Committee to approve the Tesco proposals.

"But people need to remember that it was a democratic decision, taking into account all the relevant policies and guidance. We do not favour one supermarket operator over another. That's not the name of the game. It's about whose plan conforms with planning policy and which scheme gives us the best chance of delivering a brighter future for Seaton. The choice has been made and now it's time to get on with the job."

The board heard that Tesco are currently developing their plans ahead of seeking planning permission for their cutting edge method of importing the majority of the site infill material by sea. The technique, similar to that used in prestigious schemes like the Channel Tunnel and the man-made islands in Dubai, would be used to raise the level of the development site.

Among those attending Wednesday's meeting of the Regeneration Programme Board were Jenny Nunn, Managing Director of Seaton Tramway, and Councillor Ian Thomas, the new EDDC Member for Trinity Ward, which includes Axmouth.

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Also present were representatives of Ward Williams Associates, the company tasked with drawing up detailed plans for the visitor centre, who announced that good progress was being made with arrangements for the building.

The visitor centre project team are still waiting to hear the outcome of their bid for funding from the Sea Change organisation for the Jurassic Coast interpretation centre.

With or without this funding, they are confident that they can deliver an exciting visitor attraction celebrating Seaton's position on the World Heritage Site. A planning application is expected later this year and the scheduled delivery date for the visitor centre is early summer 2011.

There was a consensus in the meeting that this date should be the trigger for Seaton to crank up its publicity to ensure that visitors understood it was well and truly "open for business".

EDDC's Countryside Team is optimistic about the next stages in the ambitious wetlands nature reserve project, which has already attracted national media interest and many hundreds of visitors in the recent summer.